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What is required to enter Islam?

Shaykh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Abbaad said:
Entering islam is not achieved by merely acknowledging Allah’s lordship; that he is The Creator, The Sustainer, The bestower of blessings and The Disposer of all affairs, but rather it’s a must along with this to come with the obligations of this recognition, which is none other than that He, the Most High is singled out with worship and that obedience is made specifically for him alone and that he is not given any partners along with him and that the religion (all religious duties) is performed purely for him.
Explanation of the 4 principles p.31

A reflection upon the worship that many of the people do

Shaykh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-badr said:
If the intention for other than Allah and giving a share to other Allah along with him enters into worship what will it become? Will it be the worship that Allah created the creation for? He (Allah) has said: {And I did not create the jin and mankind except to worship me} [Adh-Dhaariyaat v.56]. This worship which Allah created the creation for, is it those actions which many of the people practise? They ask Allah and they ask the stones, they worship Allah and they worship the domes, the stones, the trees and other than these. Is this the reason they were created for? Is this the meaning of his saying: {And I did not create the jin and mankind except to worship me} ? Never and certainly not. This is not worship but rather it is shirk (ascribing partners and equals to Allah), because of this worship does not become (true) worship except with Tawheed.
Explanation of the 4 principles p.20

The importance of Tawheed regarding our worship

Shaykh Abdur-Razzaaq said:
And this is a major principle which every single muslim should know and for this reason i mentioned to you that ibnu Abbas said: “Every command for worship (in the Qur’aan and Sunnah) is a command for Tawheed”, because worship does not become (true) worship except with Tawheed.
Explanation of the 4 principles p.20

The Virtue of giving in Ramadhan

Shaykh Saalih Al Fawzaan said:

Indeed, giving from the goodness of wealth and halal earnings for the sake of Allah is from the most exalted forms of worship. As worship can be by way of actions of the limbs, similarly it can also be by way of wealth. For this reason Allah, the exalted, has placed zakah as a pillar of Islam, which is giving a known portion of your wealth to those who are needy and underprivileged. 
So Allah placed zakah which is a type of giving in charity from the pillars of Islam.
So it is upon a Muslim to know this and to fulfil what Allah has made obligatory upon him regarding the known right (of the poor) from his wealth. And that he gives in charity voluntarily from that which he has as a surplus and that he should not deprive himself of its reward, especially during this blessed month (of Ramadhan) and the seasons of goodness.
A person should not look down upon giving in charity if it is the case that it is little (i.e. If what he is able to give is little, he should not be discouraged and refrain from giving it). For indeed Allah, the exalted, saves a person from the Hellfire by their giving of half of a date in charity.

The Prophet (sallaaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Protect yourself from the Hellfire even if it is by giving half of a date in charity, for whosoever cannot find it, then by saying a good word“. [Al-Bukhari # 1413, 3595 and Muslim #1017]
Allah accepts the giving in charity from his believing slave and multiplies its reward for him until it may become like an enormous mountain. Therefore let not a person despise anything that he can give as charity from his wealth even if it is little, so what about if he can give a lot? (i.e. If the reward of a small charity can be multiplied so greatly by Allah, then think about what one could earn by giving more or a lot).
With good wealth (given in charity) Masjids are able to be built, also schools, spreading of good and striving in Allah’s cause. So therefore that wealth could be spent in so many things, its opportunities of spending is vast and the good that it brings for those who spend it in Allah’s obedience is numerous.

Allah says: {The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower}. [Al-Baqarah verse: 261]

Therefore a person must not allow the love of (keeping) wealth overcome (and control) him and also being scared of his wealth decreasing or being stingy, and that he should not deprive himself from (spending and earning the rewards of) his wealth for indeed your wealth is a loan in your hands and Allah may give you an opportunity to spend a portion of it in charity and to spend it on yourself. So if a person prevents himself from giving charity and he just accumulates it, then indeed eventually he will depart from this world and he will leave it behind and its benefit will be left for others whilst the fatigue of acquiring and counting it was upon him. So why would a person deprive himself of it? Why did he acquire and gather this wealth? And he knows that he will soon be departing (from this world) and that he would not benefit from this wealth except that which he puts forth for himself (as reward) before his death or after his death as an ongoing charity which benefits him (with reward) after his death.
The Prophet (sallaaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “When the son of Adam dies, his actions are cut off except for three: an ongoing charity or knowledge which is benefited from or a righteous child who supplicates for him”. [Muslim #1631]

Then a Muslim should know that Allah the Exalted is good and he does not accept anything except that which is good. So a person should not spend in charity from haram wealth and repugnant earnings. For indeed, Allah does not accept these.
Likewise, (it is better that) a person should not give in charity from the worst of his wealth which is small in benefit.
Allah says: {O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad (radee) to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise}. [Al-Baqarah verse: 267]

The meaning of bad (radee) here in this verse is not that which is Haram, but that in the case where a person does not want his food which is unpleasant so he goes and gives it as charity. And Allah has prohibited this: {and do not aim at that which is bad (radee) to spend from it} (verse above). Therefore a person should not (aim) to give in charity only his thobes that he finds torn or ripped and cannot be worn or can only be used for a short time. Likewise, for food, he should not give in charity only that which he does not desire. This is not true (giving in) charity, it is instead merely getting rid of things (that are unwanted). And this (with this intention) does not benefit a person before Allah, the Exalted.
Allah says: {By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well}. [Aali Imran verse: 92]
And Allah says: {And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive} [Al-Insaan verse: 8]
They give food which they want and love for their own selves, but they give precedence to Allah’s love over the love for their own selves. {By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well}. [verse above]

This is what is befitting for a person to spend from, which are things that are beneficial, especially if he loves it himself. He gives it in charity whilst he loves it himself. This is a sign of his eemaan and a sign of him giving precedence to Allah’s pleasure (over himself). As Allah, the Exalted, says about the Ansaar: {And (they) give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful}. [Al-Hashr verse: 9]
We ask Allah to guide all to that which he loves and is pleased with. May Allah’s mention be upon our Prophet Muhammad.

Partly summarised 

Majaalis Shahr Ramadhan 21-24

Who are the true Ubbaad and the true Zuhhaad?

Shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen said:

Firstly, we must know that the ubbaad (worshippers) and the zuhhaad (ascetics) were not like what a lot of people think: that they refrained from everything in this world and secluded themselves to a corner distant from people, not commanding the good and not forbidding the evil.
But the worshippers (Ubbaad) are those who established the worship of Allah according to the requirements (teachings) of the religion.
And the ascetics (Zuhhaad) are those who leave off that which does not benefit them in the hereafter and they do that which benefits them in the hereafter, even if it is regarding the affairs of the Dunya.
Because of this, when a group from the sahaabas gathered and some of them said: “as for me I will pray the whole night, and another said: as for me I will fast the whole year and I will not break my fast, and another said: as for me I will abstain from women and I will never marry. The Prophet (sallaaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) rebuked them and said: “you are the ones who said this and that, by Allah as for me, I have more fear and taqwa of Allah than you, but I fast and I open my fast, I pray and I sleep and I marry women, so whoever desires other than my sunnah, then he is not from me.” [Al Bukhari #4776]
Therefore the reality of Zuhd is when a person leaves off that which will not benefit him in the hereafter, not that he leaves off all of the affairs of the world.
As for worship, then it is when a person devotes himself in worship to Allah in accordance to the requirements of the legislation which the Messenger of Allah came with, these are the (true) worshippers. As for those who isolate themselves in certain places and they do know people and people do not know them and they do not attain anything which Allah has made lawfully good for them, then dispraise is closer to them than praise because Allah says:
{Say: “Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) things] of food?” Say: “They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection} [Al-‘Araaf #32]
So the conclusion is that the worshippers are those who establish Allah’s worship in accordance to what the apparent legislation necessitates and the ascetics are those who refrain from that which does not benefit them in the hereafter, not in all affairs of the worldly life.
And there are affairs of the world which may benefit a person in the hereafter, like wealth for example, it is possible for wealth to benefit a person in the hereafter. Good lawful wealth is a blessing in the hands of a righteous man. How many people benefited the Muslims with their wealth! When they comforted the poor and built roads and aided in striving in the path of Allah and printed beneficial books, thus a lot of good occurred through their wealth whilst they worked to acquire wealth.
Fataawaa Noor Alaa Ad-Darb # 14-16
Translators note: This article will make you understand the correct position and the falsehood that the extreme Sufis are upon when they seclude themselves from the rest of world, abstaining from all worldly affairs and the likes of these people are looked up to by their people and are usually turned into a figure to be worshipped and they make dua to them even after their death and build shrines over their graves and worship them. But these types of people were not even following true righteous as shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen clarifies.

How to protect yourself from the punishment of the grave and Hell fire

Shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen said:

A muslim shields himself from them by performing righteous actions which brings him closer to Allah. A righteous action comprises of two conditions:

1st: Ikhlaas (sincerity) for Allah, by way that he does not intend his actions of worship except for Allah and the Hereafter. He should not intend showing off to other people in order to earn praise or something from the Dunya.

2nd: That he does not introduce a new affair (innovation) from himself in Allah’s religion, for indeed Allah does not accept an action except if it’s done sincerely for him and is in agreement with his legislation.

Allah says in a Hadith Qudsee: “I am free from having a partner (equal) whosoever performs an action and ascribes a partner with me in it, i will abandon him and his shirk” [Muslim: #2985]

And the Prophet (sallaaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever performs an action that is not from our affair (religion), then it is rejected” [Al-Bukharee # 2550 & Muslim #1718]

And from the means to protection from the punishment of the grave is that he protects himself from urine and cleans it completely. As the Hadith of ibnu Abbaas mentions that the Prophet (sallaaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) passed by two graves and He said: “Indeed they are being punished, and they are not being punished for something that was difficult, as for one of them he never used to protect himself from his urine and as for the other he used to walk around tale-carrying” [Al-Bukharee #215 & Muslim #292]

And from the means also is for a person to constantly seek refuge in Allah from the punishment of the grave, for this reason the Prophet (sallaaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded us to seek refuge from four things in the last tashahud of the salaah: “O Allah truly i seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave, from the punishment of the Hell fire, from the trials of life and death and from the evil trial of the dajjaal” [Al-Bukharee #798 & Muslim #587]
Fataawaa Noor Alaa Ad-Darb (12/12-13)

The way to achieve Ikhlaas and protect from losing reward during deeds

Shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen said:
The way that saves a person from this is to seek refuge in Allah from the shaytaan the cursed and to seek his aid in carrying out his obedience. Also a person should not pay attention to the whisperings which the shaytaan throws at his heart, for indeed the shaytaan does this to ruin and corrupt his worship and intention, therefore he should discard them and don’t pay attention to them. 

Perhaps a person may find difficulty in rectifying their intention but if he continues and is patient, then the final destination is for those who have Taqwa. Some of the Salaf use to say: “I have not strived with myself with anything more than Ikhlaas (sincerity)”. But he succeeded. 

So if a person continues with the action he is performing, seeks refuge in Allah from the shaytaan, seeks Allah’s aid in his obedience and is patient and forbearing, then indeed Allah will give him safety and success.
Fataawaa Noor Alaa Ad-Darb (12/11)

How does a Muslim actualise Tawheed?

Shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen said:

“Tawheed is actualised by having sincerity in testifying to laa ilaaha illaa Allah, i.e. There is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah, The Most High. Therefore, everything that is worshipped besides Allah is false. Allah says: {That is because Allah, He is the Truth, and that which they call upon besides Him is Falsehood, and that Allah, He is the Most High, the Most Great.} [Surah: Luqman Verse: 30].

And Tawheed is actualised – i.e. Tawheed Al-ittibaa’ – by clinging to the sunnah of the Prophet (sallaa Allahu Alayhi wa sallam), and not to deviate left or right, nor to go past and beyond it or to recede (move back) from it.

Source: Fataawaa Noor Alaa Ad-Darb (1/29-30)

Who are the people of Tawheed?

Shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen said:
“The people of Tahweed are those who worship Allah alone. i.e. They establish sincere worship for Allah alone and follow the Messenger of Allah (sallaa Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in the way they perform (those actions of worship). This is not specific to a certain group of people, but wherever country a person may live in, or whatever tribe they are from, or whatever nationality they are, if one worships Allah alone and follows his messenger (sallaa Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in that regard, then he is from the people of Tawheed.”

Fataawaa noor alaa ad-darb (1/19)

Cultivate good deeds for your Hereafter

Shaykh ibnu Uthaymeen said:

“The Worldly life (Dunya) is a place for cultivating (good deeds) for the Hereafter, and whosoever does not cultivate for his Hereafter has ruined it (i.e his dunya) and has ruined his Hereafter.”

Source: الضياء اللامع ٦٥/١

Translators Note: The one who ruins his worldly life is the one who fails to make use of it, by failing to do good deeds and having sound belief in accordance to the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

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